9.13.2012

Control the Car Chaos... then pedestrians and cyclists will fall into line

the Washington Examiner has a piece on the growth of cycling in the area and how hit is offering up new challenges to car drivers

CONTROL THE CAR CHAOS!
chase this link and read previous rants on the topic

the other day I was pulled over by a friendly police officer
this DC police officer had issue with my passing two double parked cars on the right side of the cars
my bike moved in between the double parked cars and the parked cars

my actions were deliberate
my awareness was heightened as I made this move
yet... I was stopped by this police officer several blocks after gliding through

I was pleased with the DC Cop's legitimate concern for my safety
but I thought it was ironic that he was one of the double parked cars
it was his unnecessary action that forced me into a more dangerous situation because he and the taxi cab in front of him saw it fit to pull over and double park
rather than to pull over in one of the vacant parking spots all the way to the right just up the block

then yesterday...
I was riding down East Capitol Street with the US Capitol Building just ahead
my pace was somewhere between snail and race
although there was a bike lane
I opted to put my bicycle tires on the outer white stripe of the bike lane
as I felt my speed was such that I may not have the reaction time to put myself out of harms way if a car door were to open
after all... so many bike lanes are a hazard due to their overlap with "the door zone"

as I moved down the road towards the US Capitol building a taxi cab passed... as he passed he honked and then shouted... "get in the bike lane"
which I found amusing... since so often I can not use the bike lane when I want to because there is a taxi cap parked in the bike lane

but enough with the "show and tell"
every cyclist and every car driver has as story to tell about how they were wronged by the other

I ended up passing that taxi cab a block after he passed me... then with a graceful glide through an orange... maybe red light I found myself coasting far ahead of him... not to be passed by him again
which brings up the point that was brought up by my friend Dudley the other day...

"there is this notion in the car driver's mind that they have to pass the cyclist... the car driver approaches the person on the bike and all they can think is I HAVE TO GET AHEAD OF THAT BICYCLIST! When really, so often they are rushing to get past that cyclist only to get packed in with the line of cars ahead or get stuck at that red light at the end of the block"

which brings us to the solution to our CAR VS. BIKE problem...
car drivers need to adjust their thinking

here are some things to ponder

1-Bikes have a right to be on the road
2-Bikes do not create traffic... bikes are traffic... just like cars are traffic... (it is not the obligation of the cyclist to clear a path so the car driver can pass)
3-Everyone makes slight modifications to the law to facilitate flow... Cars often go faster than the stated speed limit... cyclists may roll through a stop sign or a red light to facilitate flow (think jay walking only jay biking... and there is a difference between breaking the law and bending the law... and only modify the law in situations where it does not put others at risk... excessive speeding is wrong... rolling through a stop light or stop sign without taking a measure of pedestrian presence or the other road users right to their turn is wrong and dangerous)
4-there is room for everyone... no need for conflict... slow for cyclists and pedestrians... make safe, logical, considerate passes... 
5-have a nice day

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